tv Charlie Rose PBS October 30, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening withor han pamuk. his new book is called the innocence of objects. >> i'm a writer and i judge eventss and for me democracy is -- the criteria nibble democracy because it's morally important. it's a moral issue. democracy means first of all morally that you go to people and ask their opinions. this that sense, i'm very happy about the arab spring. about whether it's in turkey or in, say, cairo. the army is marginalized. >> rose: we continue this evening with the great pianist long long. >> being a pianist has always
been a dream so i was following my dreams. but when i was 17 years old i was a replacement for a wonderful pianist and i performed the tchaikovsky piano concerto number one and i thought, wow. >> rose: and we conclude with arnie glipl cher, the legendary art dealer at the pace gallery. >> agnes martin was at the turn of the century. we had pop art happening and the end of abstract impressionism happening and the beginning of minimalism. many people call martin the beginning of minimalism, she's the end of abstract expressionism because there is brush work, there is a very sensitive application by hand. minimalism sought to get rid of all possible human marks on the
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: orhan pamuk is here, the nobel prize winning author of "my name is red," "snow" and the museum of innocence" has just had another novel translated into english. "silent house" was written in turkish almost three decades ago. it is set in the summer of 1980 in the leader of turkey's coup. fatima is visited by her children. they enter into a deep darkness which is visible between the wings of the big front door. pamuk has also published "the
innocence of objects," the catalog to the museum of innocence in istanbul which opened early this year. i am pleased to have this friend of our program back at this table. welcome. >> thank you. >> rose: we visited in istanbul, visitors are making us happy. everything is fine with the museum. >> rose: has everything changed in your life since i saw you? >> i returned back to my writerly persona. so in many so many programs i told you between the ages of seven and 22 i wanted to be a painter then. between 22 to now i'm writing novels but the dead artist in me came out, i planned this novel and the museum together, it took almost a decade to collect the
objects, write the novel to the objects then do the museum and it's open, now it's working, it's running on its own now i'm very happy to slightly push it back in my memory. i'm busy with the new novel. very much. >> rose: okay, what's it called? >> it's called "strangeness in my mind." it chronicles the immigration to istanbul from rural anatolia. and how generation after generation of people made istanbul when i was born into this town 60 years ago it was almost a million and now 14 million and most of these people came from poor parts of turkey. why did they come? whey what did they do? they built their own houses were their own hands. they are developed now, we see high-rises in those areas of town.
the city has changed so much in the last 50 years and now trying to in my new novel that i'm very busy with trying to chronicle that to the point of view of the dispossessed. >> rose: many people say a great novel begins with a question. >> okay. here the question is trying to see the life that we have all lived in turkey from the point of view of a person who came to this town late who tried to make a living, who came with a very poor background and tried to adapt to the city. we always saw turkish officials history, turk turkish establishment, myself included,
we always saw these people who are coming and imbalancing the cultural projection we have of th city. trying to see istanbul from the point of view of someone who felt he don't belong, who insists he belongs then some of them get to be very rich, some of them get to be -- continue to be poor so trying to also go to the moral issues of what makes you successful, was it worth it, this kind of thing. >> rose: so when you're working on a novel like you are on this one what are you doing? >> so many things at once. at first there is a research site. first a novel i think of it as subject matter, choosing the subject matter, deciding about that. for years i take various notes. >> rose: the idea has been in your head. >> for quite a long time as i get older the ideas are i have so many unwritten novels i am
panicking and running around to write them. some novel december man research and research can be divided into research that i can do myself like reading books or interviewing people. for this i do that. more now i have people who are helping me interview people about their lives, how they built their houses, how they -- so i combine this information then i invent, change them around, change them around, change them around, rewrite it. >> rose: this is while you're writing. you invent, change, move, go back? >> yes, of course and develop characters meanwhile, then revisit the story, rewrite it so in a way you're -- you have it on the line level and i still have major changes you think of -- you develop characters. then also i have a habit of reading to my acquaintances, friends, and trying to see whether the story works. >> reporter: you have friends
read it -- >> i read in process. i'm not a shy novelist in that sense i read passages to my friends, even to visitors, some people who are not well acquainted. >> rose: sit down and listen to me. >> yes it's also a sweetness. >> rose: a sharing, too. >> yes, uh-huh. so that way i developed and developed this story actually one writes a novel to work some basic points. a story that is also a literary theory about the russian theory about a story is actually something that connects the things that you want to talk about so that your character goes -- >> rose: a whole bunch of things you want to talk about and you create characters to connect them? >> characters and storyline. say in the novel i'm now writing i want a scene in which people
build with their own homes. >> rose: they make their own bricks? >> yes, they make their own bricks and they buy also remains old houses to make their new houses. so i learn about this and i want to write about this or i want to write slightly about political tensions of coming to the city and having a very conservative attitudes toward life and then experiencing the charms or seductions of modern city life. >> rose: do you know the last chapter? >> no, but i know where it will go. that i will -- it will end up in high-rises where there used to be 50 years ago muddy fields and shanty houses. >> rose: which is happening in istanbul as we speak? >> this is what's happening, yes and the novel has aspirations to
be panoramic but while i'm deviling, exploring the mind of a street vendor who's selling things, a strange turkish liquid at night. it has also connotations of roe man schism with the ottoman empire, so forth and so on. >> rose: "silent house" is about the '80s, before the coupe, it's a family gathered in anticipation of the coupe? does that fascinate you? the whole subject matter of the relationship between the turkish people and the military? >> it does. but not particularly interested in military but since our army was involved in turkish politics for quite a long time and upper classes coup and reliant on the power of arm to protect secular and this was also my family, in
a way, for quite a long time. >> rose: coming out of ataturk, too. >> yes, this is the tradition in turkey. so our army's involvement in police is inevitable. even if you -- politics is bedesign in the novel. but on the other hand, it's not about army, it's about civil society. >> rose: okay, but you and i both have had this conversation before. it is said that p.m. erdogan has put the military back in the barracks. >> yes, i'm happy about that. that part i'm happy about prime minister is maneuvering, successfully maneuvering to put the army back into barracks. i'm happy about that. but that part of turkish history is slightly over now. >> rose: you're not going to find a coup every several years. >> i'm not expecting a coup but who knows? coups come from wherever. and -- but now, turkish politics
is now -- has now left that problem behind. >> rose: we'll come back to turkish politics which as you know i have great interest in. tell me about "the silent house" and tell me about what's the house in question? >> "silent house" is a story about a family gathering perhaps in the manner of russian writers where generations meet and different point of views in a way represent the problems of the nation say this is about a family. the founder of the house who is not alive, was a military doctor and military doctors form young turkish positiveistic opposition to ottoman sultans especially sultan who was for a long time a
patriarch and he has young turk and revolutionary ideas but he's exiled to this small fisherman's village and begins to live there because he cannot return back to istanbul. the idea of dangers of politics is spelled there. then two generations past the radical jacobian ideas are based on the power of the army doesn't work anymore and unfortunately if they have experience in the 1970s and early '80s, life's right wing paramilitary forces and the left wing marxist forces are shooting each other in the streets. the idea of democracy doesn't work too much because the idea of perhaps tolerance doesn't work too much or the country is so unhappy and economically it's so unfrustrated that there is too much tension. the house is where all this
family meets and there's an old grandmother who is remembering the radical jacobian ideas of his husband wanted to publish -- >> rose: this is fatima? >> yes, fatima. and so i'm putting all this together to give a sense of what's happening in the country then, of course, there's a story site. >> rose: and then the grandchildren. >> farouk and matin and hassan. >> rose: now, hassan is interesting. >> hassan is a typical right wing nationalist street guy. militant of the 1970s. lots of anger and resentment although he is not a radical islamist he has right wing anti-western sentiment. very conservative.
has little paranoias like all of us in fact in that part of the world about the west plotting to do things in turkey. >> rose: is that simply hisly. in other words, the west has come to do that and so therefore you can never quietly assume it will never happen again or -- >> good question, it's not over, this kind of imagination that a conspiracy that the western powers are doing nasty things in our country it's still generated and, in fact, sometimes western powers help us to feel like that. make us believe that some conspiracies are right and on the other hand now no that turkey approaches international community more perhaps because of negotiations for european union i think turkish people's understanding of west is more mature. more grown up now that this kind of almost infantile --
>> rose: but does that have to do with the confidence of turkey about its economic growth rate? about its role in the world? about the prominence its plays in the region? >> yes, but this confidence has also its bag that turkey is doing well in the last decade economically so well that that gives you something -- >> rose: and istanbul has become one of the most -- >> yes, the story is about that, actually this is -- some of the parts of the book are the same ground and i'm writing in my new novel. all these places where there were factories, little -- olive gardens or fig trees and also a fancy summer resort or previous a fisherman's village and all these places were considered to be part of istanbul now belong to the town and when i read the book -- this book again i saw
that how much of the town had changed, grew, how much of the land scape had changed. all these hills in my childhood that i saw empty -- if you paint them with the blue crayon will be enough. now it's full of high-rises. and the novel is chronicling that change. too. >> rose: is that a welcome development? >> in some aspects, if there are high-rise it is country is getting rich, economical growth is of course something you welcome. but are people involved in architectural change, urban change? there we may have problems. >> rose: and should you look out for the price you pay for that so that you can minimize that price? i.e. in terms of what it does to community, what it does to cull sdmur what it does to -- >> i think when -- i think part of this problematic growth,
uncontrolled growth where intelligentsia is saying it's too uncontrolled, what's happening? let's have more, this is what's happening and urban change is getting very political in turkey because two sides are -- the ideas -- both ideas are respectable, but what is more important is that we have to have more transparency, people's involvement in these urban change decisions. but behind it lies the fact that economy is booming so fast that no one can control it anymore. for me the ahasing thing is that i can say that in relation to "silent house" is that i've been living for 60 years. there've vn times that i've come back this or that that the change i saw in the first 45
years less than the change i saw in the last 15 years. >> wow. how is it different? change in the last 15? is it just velocity? >> velocity. immense economical -- political change is more development of say -- development of free speech and liberal society and because of economics and it's hard to control turkey anymore. it's so rich and coming that it's hard to crush it down and control it. >> rose: as i a writer do you -- and because of the run in you had you were criticized for criticizing turkey, correct? >> yes. >> rose: they arrested you. >> no. >> rose: well, they didn't arrest you but -- >> i was fined but then it was dropped because of international pressure. >> rose: exactly. i understand that. do you fear at all now what you have to be careful that you make
sure what you say is understood for what you mean? >> these are two different things. i am upset about what i say may be changed a bit, but in the end i -- i'm not the prize winner. internationally recognized. i'm not afraid of myself. i can say whatever i want. >> rose: do you feel like you're safe because they would not -- i don't want to go into this. i have self-confidence, enough self-confidence who-to-express myself but i have to note that all my journalist friends and all journalistic community is a bit buried -- worried about what what to write and say. they're quoting each other. >> rose: some journalists have been arrested. >> but also we have to -- don't forget this is their tradition
here. this is not a new development. we hope these things don't continue that while i'm happy about erdogan erdogan's fighting the army i'm getting upset more and more about the journalists. >> rose: slight authoritarianism. >> slight authoritarianism is unfortunately beginning and this year is deeply related to the fact that unfortunately turkey could not make peace with with the angry kurds. >> rose: and that's what they worry about. >> and once the bombs are exploding it's hard to demand -- once the bombs are exploding both sides get radical and then it clashed and authoritarianism
and -- political flashes get severe. >> rose: so you think that's the tenor of turkey today. whether the government s getting authoritarian is troubling all of us. >> rose: but the secular state remains? >> of course, no problem about that. sigs secular state remains and demoacy is working in turkey. >> rose: and erdogan goes around the world preaching secularism. he went to cairo and preached secularism. >> i'm happy about that. >> rose: go ahead. >> i'm happy that erdogan is preaching secularism in cairo. i'm also happy about arab spring
you look at libya, you don't know what's going on there, syria, you don't know how that's going to end. it's the rise of islamists in the middle east. what's your perspective and where it might be going? >> okay, first, i'm a writer. i judge events, human point of view instead of ideological preconceived ideas and for me democracy is the criteria for democracy, i believe in democracy because it's morally important. it's a moral issue democracy means first of all morally that you go to people and ask their opinions in that sense i'm very happy about the arab spring about whether it's in turkey or say in cairo the army is
marginalize add bit in cairo. they continue to hold their old power maybe are losing some of in the turkey. in other parts of the middle east the army is -- various armies who are heart felt defenders of secularism but also was abusing their position, are losing their power. and i'm morally happy about that but that is raising another problem that we are happy to have democracy but unfortunately people are not rooting for the pa t parties that we want them to work for. and now yes, these are the dilemmas of democracy. democracy is not only people -- it's not a democracy where you a democracy is -- it's a surprising thing that people want a party you don't want.
>> rose: sometimes revolutions are started by some people and finished by others. >> i don't think that this is -- i hope that's not a revolution, that's an authoritarian -- ends up being authoritarian so i don't think that's happening. especially in arabic countries. that's not happening. we may see that may be developing towards that way or that way. but i think we're both in turkey and in arabic countries we have to respect people's will. >> rose: is there in your mind-- not like a trilogy or something-- but is there in your mind a sense that before you finish you want to write a whole range of things that hang together as the history of, as an examination of, as a reflection of. >> i would probably -- as i get older would write -- i want to write more and more about
turkish middle-classs, upper middle-classs, infor situation with western ideas and how can history turn around and a new thing appeared not entirely that upper class secular reformers that my family also and i'm also believing those reforms believed but something new, something strange. something that never existed. perhaps a sort of non-western modernity is coming about. that i would love to go in details and "chronicle" more. >> rose: i hope you will. this book is called "silent house" orhan pamuk. back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: lang lang is here. he is a pianist sensation who sells that out concert halls around the world. he is known for the virtuosity
>> it's quite funny to see myself replay every time i see it i'm like "that's interesting." >> rose: you'll be at carnegie hall october 30 in a benefit for the lang lang foundation. what is that? >> we started this foundation four years ago and our aim is to helping the next generation through music. >> rose: generation of americans? generation of international -- >> starting in america and influencing the world. >> rose: good for you. >> yes, so we have this concert. >> rose: and there's a new c.d. out which i have in my hand which is called the chopin album. a favorite for you or -- >> there are a lot of my favorite songs which i practice really hard when i was a kid and now i start practices like oh, it's getting easier. >> what composer is hardest for you? >> i would say braums. >> rose: really? >> yeah, brahms.
>> rose: and why is that? >> his personality is a very strong personality and the music is always going deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper. somehow when you play his music you need to be completely quiet and let the air flows. >> rose: when you have had your success, do you still have teachers? >> yes, i do. i have a few wonderful teachers >> rose: those are -- they were conductors as well. >> absolutely. >> rose: and what did they give you? how did they take these remarkable musical skills you have and take it to another level? >> they inspire me to have a different interpretationen and they gave me the great tradition of lines how rubinstein did it, leonard bernstein did it. so they gave me all those options that i could learn from
the past but then they let me explore new ideas and to recreate new moments. >> i can see -- i actually -- that's enormously, i would think attractive way to learn because you can see how different people of great renown approach something and they're approaching to see different things the. to see different interpretations. it also, i would think, informs you of the possibilities. >> yes, yes. >> rose: of any piece of music if you see how the greats take a difficult piece. your mind is open to what might be opportunities in the next time. >> exactly. and music stays like a memory. like ten years later if you go back to the same piece you found that you are reviewing something on top of ten years ago but in the very different dimensions so in a way music also growing with you somehow by not noticing it.
>> rose: when you were growing up, when did you know-- know-- that this is the life that you will have. >> the first surprise for me is first time on stage when i was five and i really like the stage light and i found that that was really warm but obviously that's kind of being a pianist has always been a dream so i was just following my dreams but until when i was 17 years old i became this replacement for a wonderful pianist who got a fever. and at that moment i performed the tchaikovsky piano concerto number 1 with chicago symphony and i thought, wow, this is my moment. >> rose: chicago symphony? >> right. >> rose: was barren balm director? >> that time it was kristof herber and the master of
ceremony. >> rose: do different conductors influence you differently on how you perform on stage with them? >> especially when you are a teenager. you get actually more stronger influence and then now i'm 30 years old so the influences are getting smaller. >> rose: i was trying to remember when we first met, the first show we did was what year? >> it was 2002? >> rose: so ten years ago. where do you want it to go. what kind of career do you envision for yourself? i mean, clearly there will always be recordings for posterity, but at the same time there's an extraordinary number of better orchestras today? >> i think of course career is a very important thing but i think growing up we need to share our passion to muse musical education and ask me today around the world musical education is getting --
disappears. >> rose: why is that? >> i think one is economy, prices, and people think let's be more practical, maybe music and art is not really necessary so when they look into the budget when they see music and art they say oh, we can cut that. so this worries me a lot because i don't -- >> rose: because of what culture means to you and what it does for the soul and the psyche. >> it makes our minds in a much more creative way and makes our heart more peaceful. >> is it -- what's the level of appreciation in music in china versus the united states or elsewhere? >> china is a very different situation. chinese kids are crazy about learning musical instruments and in a moment we are -- we have like 90 million people learn instruments. and half of them are playing piano. so every elementary school that
i see has a music class so for the future i see there's a huge passion for music. >> rose: why do they want the piano? >> i don't know. maybe piano is simple to play? (laughs) >> rose: no, no. but maybe it's just something -- you hear more about people taking piano lessons or wanting to play piano. it's the thing parents want to introduce that you are kids to and those that have seeds of greatness. i guess. >> i would say that because my parents or our parents' generation they didn't have a chance to learn piano because that was the cultural revolution time so somehow now china becomes this also a player in the world that we need connect to the world and piano becomes some kind of a good bridge twhoo n between two cultures. >> rose: what happened to your parents during the cultural revolution? >> my father learned chinese instrument so he took audition to a school after the culture
revolution. >> rose: but before and where was he during? >> he was in a factory working something -- i -- >> rose: and your mother? >> my mom during the cultural revolution went to countryside to work with farmers. >> rose: did they talk about it? >> my mother enjoyed working because she said she learned a lot of things she which she will never learn in the city like how to grow things she enjoyed it and she only stayed there for three years so she was fine but i know some of the people didn't enjoy it. like my piano teacher, for example. >> rose: what happened to european know teacher? >> she was a great pianist at the time but during the cultural revolution they sent her to somewhere and she had to feed pigs in the farmland. >> rose: no connection to a piano at all? no connection to culture at all. >> right, so she didn't enjoy that. >> rose: you play today chinese music as well as the western canon >> yes, i play also -- i actually do some traditional chinese music and i do it like
arrangement to the piano so i start playing chinese stuff on the pianos. sounds interesting but we're trying to mix up the technique from the chinese music taste. a lot of vibrato and try to adapt that kind of sound in piano keys. >> rose: even though you're only 30 you teach master classes. >> yes, i have a school in china in shin gin and now we have -- >> rose: shinjin is a lively place. >> yes, lovely city. >> rose: how big? >> ten million. >> rose: ten million people! >> not the biggest. >> rose: how many are there in china? >> i would say probably around eight -- >> rose: with more than ten million people? what do you in each the master class? what is it that you want them to get? >> i would really like to share the love for music. sometimes you learn thing from
your wonderful teacher but sometimes you become kind of a machine when you practice and a lot of kids are a little bit scared of expressing their feelings because they've been told too many things. i think big a good teacher is not just training the proper way of playing but also helping them say, you know, something from their own. >> rose: but you got it early. even though you had a very -- a different kind of training, you got that, that whole sense of individuality. >> right, right >>. >> rose: how come? your personality? your -- what? >> i just felt that it's pretty boring if we all do the same thing. >> rose: right, right, right. and all be the same way. >> i felt pretty boring. >> rose: are you happiest when you're on stage? >> i actually really enjoy being on stage and i get overjoyed but
sometimes i -- as you know, you travel more than anybody else that sometimes jet lag makes you feel tired. but the great thing about music is that when you play a song by chopin or mozart, you are in that musical planet and you forget all those depressive stuff so in a way so it's so helping, spiritually. >> rose: how many days have you gone without playing a piano? >> in the summer this year i actually had a summer off. >> rose: all summer? >> yeah, but i was practicing. but for five days i didn't practice. >> rose: five days. is that the most you've ever been without putting your hands on the keys? >> yeah. i think the most -- longest -- >> rose: was there withdrawal for you? >> i was in south france having fun time on a boat. >> rose: on a boat. >> so i didn't really think too much about music. >> rose: so in a candid moment, what's the ambition for you? is there a goal? and what is it? >> i mean, obviously there's --
in at world there's no limit. all the great musicians, they still work so hard to find a new way of interpretation, like a man turning 70 still working so hard to find the meaning behind the notes and i'm only 30. there's a long way to go. i'm really looking up at those great masters. do they set up a higher standard for us all the time? >> rose: who are the three masters you're talking about? >> kristof eshenbauk and my teacher -- >> rose: oh, those are the three masters you're trying to -- you want them say "we're proud of you, that was great"? >> yes. >> rose: thank you for coming. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: come back sooner than the number of years that have passed since you were here. lang lang, the chopin album a whole series of wonderful performances. thank you. >> thank you.
>> rose: arne glimcher is here, he is the legendary art dealer of the pace gallery. 40 years ago he said "when we started this in 1960 there was no art market, it was the question of choosing the life you wanted to live and i wanted a life in art." pace has expanded to seven locations in worldwide. artist chuck close has said of him "he is the dealer who is most ruled by passion." glimcher is the author of a new book that celebrates the career of agnes martin. it's called "agnes martin, paintings, writings, remembrances." welcome. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: you're going full steam ahead in china. >> and beijing has been great and the next place is hong kong so we will be opening in hong kong. that's it. >> rose: meaning what? >> that's it for gallery expansion. but there are other things i want to do. there's a couple documentary films i want to make. >> rose: subject? >> one is the idea of art being
manufactured. i think people don't understand really that art is something in the mind, not in the hand. so many people have enormous skill to make beautiful portraits, can render what they see. so few people can interpret reality. >> rose: so where do you put damien hirst? >> i think damien hirst is one of the artists i would like to interview for this film. >> because? >> because the work isn't made by damien. isn't made by jeff koontz. lucas amaris is exclusively made by a computer. >> rose: you're saying what about those people? >> i'm saying they are some of the best examples of art being a product of the mind rather than of the hand. >> rose: ah. >> so in a way it's like sol le
wit who was one of the first minimalist artists. he made wall drawings and they were designed by him and executed by other people. his conception was that he could work like an architect. architect cans make great works of art -- architecture. i think for the most part architects are utilitarian artists it's great. it's not the same level for me of painting and sculpture and where they're non-utilitarian, that they are something that just extends the perception of the mind. >> rose: tell me who agnes was >> agnes martin was one of the really key artists at the turn of -- at the middle of the century. we had two things happening. we had pop art happening and then we had the end of abstract
expressionist happening and the beginning of minimalism. many people call martin the beginning of minimalism. she's the end of abstract expressionism because there is brush work, there is a very senseive the application by hand minimalism sought to get rid of all possible human marks on the canvass. so martin -- reinhart paints the last paintings, the black ultimate paintings and martin says i am going to begin painting again and she eliminates everything from the picture. there is at first no color, there's no composition, and she begins making paintings that are grids, that look like graph pain we are pencil on canvas, the pencil changing ever so slightly because of the grain of the canvas, very soft washes of
color and she said to me "i wanted to make a painting that nobody else would think was a painting." and she said "you know, they responded." she was a pioneer woman. she came from saskatchewan, she was a sailor, she trained for the olympics as a swimmer. she was a really tough pioneer lady and a recluse. you know, the years of her life she lived on a mesa and never saw anybody and was snowed in for the winter and would just limit any stimulus around her. so i was there once and -- >> rose: how did you meter? >> i meter in 1963 at a party at jack youngerman's studio with ellsworth kelly and robert indiana and i was a kid and she
was amazing. a lecture ensued about truth and beauty at that meeting and i think something clicked. i think when we meet people that we like that we have something in common with intellectually. something clicks and so -- incidentally youngerman was married to delphine serig who was a star, she was one of the most famous actresses in the world. i was this little kid from boston, it was very glamourous. and i met martin then and we begin a relationship but she didn't show with me at that point. she was with another gallery and in 1967 she stopped painting. she felt she had made all the paintings that were left inside of her. she said everything she had to say. and she bought an air flow trailer and went back to new mexico where had taught in the
past and she rented some property on a mesa and i didn't see her for eight years and one day she walked into the gallery and she said i'm painting again, would you show my paintings? it was just like that. and my partner fred mueller, we were both close to her and she said "i'll let you know when to come." and on a friday afternoon i got this telephone call saying "the plane to albuquerque leaves at 9:00 tomorrow morning, i'll meet you at the airport." not account request k you make it." and we were there. and that was the beginning of of the relationship. >> rose: let me show photographs. someone a photograph of agnes martin on the roof of her studio with jack geller man, ellsworth kelly, robert indiana. >> one thing about meeting agnes
when i started to deal with her at the beginning she said remember, we are not friends we are toilers together in the art field but we are not friends. she was really afraid of friendship. >> rose: with everybody. >> with everybody. >> rose: look at the number two. this is dessert rain 1957, oil on canvas. >> so this is the beginning of martin's mature work and you can see there's influence of joseph albers but she's beginning to limit the amount of content in the painting. >> rose: the next is pilgrimage. acrylic on pencil on canvas. >> this is a "greater boston" painting. this is the one of the key early works and the way you have to look at these paintings is by
erasing any kind of prejudice as to what you think you're seeing and look at the painting and it becomes a mantra these paintsings are especially calming, especially beautiful with time and agnes said to me once from music they accept pure emotion, from art they expect explanation. >> rose: she also said when i think of art i think of beauty, beauty is the mystery of life. it's not just in the eye, it's in the mind, it is our positive response to life. >> i'll give you an interesting example of that. my granddaughter was about eight years old visiting agnes and agnes had a beautiful rose she picked from the garden and my granddaughter was fascinated by the rose and agnes took the rose out of the vase and said to
isabelle "is this rose beautiful?" and isabelle said "yes, the rose is really beautiful." and then martin put the rose behind her back. she said "is it still beautiful?" and isabelle said "oh, yes, it's beautiful." she said "you see, isabelle, beauty is in your mind, not in the rose." she said "one must see the ideal in one's own mind, it's like a memory of perfection." >> and i think that's what she was really after >> this is trumpet. acrylic and graphite on canvas. >> this is the last painting she made and you can see before compared to the previous painting it has a great deal of brush work. the last work is untitled but looks very much like this. in this last work after a lifetime of making paintings that were much more perfect she
comes backing to this very brushy, very stormy painting this is the last painting she painted. and i was with her -- >> rose: this is 2004. >> 2004. her last painting. i was with her during the time she was dying i was zillionthing at her bed and she said to me, arne, there are three paintings in the studio. the one on the wall, the brushy one is perfect the other two aren't. i want you to go to the studio right now and destroy them. and i said okay because agnes painted perhaps ten versions of the single painting that you see until she got the one she wanted all of them were beautiful to my eye. she cut up nine of them. so i went to the studio and the other two paintings were perfection and they were beautiful and i cut them up to
ribbons with a matt knife, she said "did you do it?" i said "i did it." and here you can see this changes drastically. you have this fantastic washed background and i think of these somewhat like the dark paintings of rothko that were the second to his last paintings this shape is an echo of works from the '50s. even the painting we looked at earlier that was fuzzy and had a reck tang until the middle but i see it as a kind of infinite void -- infinite background, void of the background with this concrete shape flowing on it. these are open to incredible interpretation. >> rose: the last one siff "untitled" from 2002. >> this is two years before the last painting and how different these are from the paintings that are grids so stripes.
at that late moment in her life in her 90s she's reaching for something new. >> rose: okay, back to china. last time you were here you said the western narrative is over. you are the first major western gallery to expand into china. is the western narrative over >>. >> well, i was at admonished by my son for saying that. >> rose: i know. >> and mark said to me "don't you ever saythat again." >> rose: so? >> well, i think it's over in this way. it doesn't mean that great art isn't going to be made in america. but the american -- this glorious american narrative is winding down. and i think -- >> rose: why is it winding down? >> because it's no longer -- art was a focus of the west. we only focused on the west. we didn't focus on emerging
countries art happened all over the world that we didn't even care about. one like eve klein who's a major painter -- >> rose: well, art can happen if we don't notice it, can't it? >> it can happen if we don't notice it. >> we don't have to notice art or hang it on the gallery in order for it to be art? >> certainly not or i'd have to have galleries the size of new york city. but the world has to acknowledge that there is a constituency that makes art -- that appreciates art. >> rose: this is a fascinating story. you're right. >> rose: the book is unusual in that it's not art speak. it's my journals of life with her. it's her ideas and i hope that it's something that people can read piece by piece and learn something about themselves. learn about life, learn about
truth and beauty. >> rose: thank you. >> my pleasure. >> rose: ago net, martin, paintings, writings, remembrances. arne glimcher, sailor, filmmaker father, grandfather. >> and we don't know what. >> rose: we don't know what. that's what makes life interesting. thank you for joining us. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org